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WBU CEO Addresses UN Forum on Financing for Development

The CEO of the World Blind Union Mr. Jose Viera who is also the Permanent Representative of the UN Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities addressed the UN Forum on Financing for Development held at the UN Headquarters in New York on April 17.

Photo: Mr. Jose Viera speaking at FfDForum iin New York (Photo, courtesy of Elizabeth Lockwood, CBM International Representative
Photo: Mr. Jose Viera speaking at FfD Forum in New York (Photo, courtesy of Elizabeth Lockwood, CBM International Representative at the United Nations) 

Mr. Viera emphasized that redressing the many inequalities experienced by persons with disabilities requires dedicated resources. However, he observed that one of the key barriers that are preventing such resources from being mobilised and allocated is corporate tax avoidance which is costing governments worldwide an estimated US$500 billion every year. This includes some $70-120 billion lost from countries in the global south, where corporate taxation is a particularly important source of revenue. 

"Countries in the global south are still not able to participate in decisions on international tax standards on a genuinely equal footing: the OECD tends to act as the chief decision maker, as there is still no intergovernmental tax body under the auspices of the UN. This makes it much harder to put an end to harmful tax practices that currently deprive governments of resources that they urgently need for tackling inequalities", he said

Mr. Viera underlined that taxation and expenditure policies should be subject to comprehensive human rights impact assessments, and the assessments should be fully disability-responsive. This in turn requires concerted efforts to enhance transparency, accountability and participation in fiscal policymaking, especially for marginalized groups.

"We ask the Inter-Agency Task Force on Financing for Development, in its 2020 report, to examine governments’ performance in conducting human rights impact assessment of fiscal policies, with a particular emphasis on responsiveness to the rights of marginalized groups, such as persons with disabilities."